There is a strong reason why thousands of webmasters opt for the Joomla content management system to build sites and online applications. It’sopen-source, multilingual, highly flexible, intuitive and well supported. According to the latest statistics by W3Techs, Joomla is used by 3.4% of all websites, and its global market share amounts to 7.2% as of February 2017.
Unfortunately, popularity and exploitation tend to go hand in hand. The flip side of wideCMS reach is that cybercriminals capitalize on hacking websites built with it. A recent report by Sucuri reveals that 17% of all sites compromised in Q3 2016 ran Joomla. This percentage makes it the second most hacked website platform.
By exploiting known CMS security loopholes, threat actors can steal administrative credentials, deface a site, erase or hold its content for ransom, or leave a backdoor behind. The latter adverse effect is particularly disconcerting because the attackers will then be able to compromise the website again even after the webmaster has recovered from the original breach.
To avoid the worst-case scenario and mitigate the damage from a possible attack, it’s strongly recommended to enhance the defenses of a Joomla based website by installing a reliable security extension.Below is a list of top-rated extensions that will add an extra layer of security to your Joomla setup and safeguard your site against hacking.
This award-winning Joomla extension has been around since 2006. As the name suggests, its main objective is to create and maintain website backups. Not only is this feature a godsend for remediating the damage from ransomware attacks, but it also facilitates site transfers. The extension performs a backup to an archive that encompasses website content, a database snapshot, and an installer. The process is customizable, allowing you to back up the files or database only, not necessarily both. The backup routine is AJAX powered, so it runs smooth and fast even with big sites.
With the Admin Tools extension installed, your Joomla site is going to be a moving target for cybercrooks. It displays notifications about fresh CMS releases once they are available, monitors permissions for accessing files and directories, and delivers useful password management features. Its platform administration facet includes database maintenance and link migration features, to name a few. Be advised that Admin Tools Core, which is an open-source edition, does not go with free support. However, the available documentation should suffice for basic troubleshooting.
The name of this extension is fairly self-explanatory. jHackGuard prevents a Joomla website from being hacked. To this end, it accommodates mechanisms that thwart remote code executions, remote URL or file inclusions, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and SQL injections. The tool also fine-tunes security configurations in order to filter users’ input data. Furthermore, it raises the bar for intruders by integrating advanced PHP security settings. To its credit, the extension is really user-friendly and does its job without distracting administrators from their routine work.
EasyCalcCheck Plus, also referred to as ECC+, provides an effective anti-spam barrier for Joomla based sites. Its functionality revolves around protecting your contact and registration forms by adding an arithmetic problem, a hidden input field or time restriction. This way, it filters out rogue registrations and messages generated by bots rather than humans. The extension also leverages external anti-spam services such as Akismet, Google ReCaptcha and the like. Furthermore, ECC+ counters SQL injection and local file inclusion.
This security extension safeguards your administrator area from several different angles. Its main features include front-end restriction mechanisms, the use of access keys, lost key recovery, protection against brute-forcing, IP white- and blacklisting, extensive management of blocked IP addresses, attempted attack reports, and admin notification over email.
Securitycheck bridges the security gap for poorly protected Joomla setups. One of its key components is the Web Firewall, which supports IPv6 and blocks over 90 different types of cross-site scripting, local file inclusion and SQL injection attacks. Other noteworthy features include .htaccess protection, file management, vulnerability checking, session protection, event logs, remote management and IP blacklisting based on geolocation. The extension’s controls may appear somewhat complicated for newbies, so it’s recommended to read the user manual before installing it.
As far as protection from intrusions and hacker attacks goes, RSFirewall will fit the bill. It allows webmasters to define IP white and blacklists and set a backend password. The extension also detects and blocks malicious code, prevents unauthorized administrative changes, finds and repairs errors in database tables, thwarts brute-force login attempts, scans core files for integrity, and blocks anonymous proxies.
According to the above-mentioned Hacked Website Trend Report by Sucuri, vulnerabilities in out-of-date Joomla editions pose the main attack vector, accounting for 84% of all hack incidents. Therefore, website owners should take CMS patches more seriously and apply them once they are released. Joomla security extensions are certainly helpful, but webmasters should use them in tandem with basic security practices, such as proper authentication and timely updates.
To make your website not only safe and secure but also attractive, you might need top-quality Joomla templates. Review the collection to choose an appropriate layout for your website.